Sunday, May 6, 2012

Hoarding Balloons

I know this isn't true of all globophiles, but I have a tendency to keep buying balloons even though I have more than I can possible use, especially given that I live with wife and kids and have very little private time to indulge my fetish. I seem to have gotten over this to some extent in recent years, although I still find myself veering off to the party section at Wal-Mart when I shop there to see what they have in the way of balloons.

(The answer, if you're curious, is that they have 9- and 12-inch balloons, which are not horrible but not the best either; some are in bags of 72 and really quite reasonably priced. But I digress.)

I've managed not to buy too many balloons lately, but I still have a rather large stash in my nightstand drawer. Some are relatively recent purchases, from about a year and a half ago when I had the good fortune to be in a large city with a Qualatex Master Distributor. I bought a bag of 100 11-inch jewels and a bag of 50 16-inch jewels. These are for decorating and special occasions.

But I still had about a hundred balloons left that were beginning to get a little old and seemed like they might be kind of unreliable. So I made a promise to myself that, over the course of the current year, I would blow those balloons up and pop them.

You see, I can't just throw them away. It just doesn't feel right. Can't give them away, either. So for the past few months I have been making sure that I blow up and pop at least three balloons every week. It's not as easy as it sounds; I have very little privacy (from my kids; my wife is fine with it).

There was a time when I had a couple of thousand uninflated balloons in my possession. It made some sense before I had children, because I could blow up a hundred or more at a time for play and I would use them up in a reasonable amount of time. But once I became a Dad, the chances for that kind of play just fell by the wayside. But I kept accumulating balloons.

It took me about ten years, including a couple of moves, one across country, to pare my balloon hoard down to the size it is now. I'm surprised that some of the balloons can still be inflated with relative safely. I have some 36-inch balloons that are at least 15 years old, and they have been find so far (obviously, I don't manage to blow up anything that size three times a week; those get used about once a year). I have some white balloons that go back even farther, and I've blown those up, bounced around on them, and actually found them hard to pop.

Pretty much all the old balloons that still hold up are made by Qualatex. I haven't been so lucky with other brands even after just a few years. Once my varied stash has been used up, the remaining balloons will be all Qualatex. I won't try to use those up quickly, but I won't keep them around for ten years, either.

Maybe I'll be able to do something more spectacular when the kids have left home.

If I'm still up to it.

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